By CARA ANDRES, DEVIN ZERBE and BROOKE WHITLING
“It’s a lot like the quote in ‘Lilo and Stitch.’ ‘Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.’ We are a family, and we cannot let any of our students be left behind or forgotten,” explains Robert Horner, Cranberry Elementary School principle.
For years, teachers and administrators have been greeting students as they enter the building. Recently, they noticed that only a small portion of the students responded to their good morning welcome. This prompted the school to implement a program that will teach their students the importance of communicating with others.
The administration decided to use “Start With Hello” after it was discovered by Julie Kosker, the school counselor.
“Instead of focusing on bullying, it focuses on being a good human,” Kosker mentions.
“Start With Hello” is a program designed to address social isolation. Specifically, this program focuses on how to prevent any disconnection in learning environments.
Within this project, students will be encouraged to initiate conversations with peers, teachers and family. The efforts of this program are not exclusive to the school atmosphere; however, it is asked that parents also help to encourage their children to socialize.
“We are planting a seed that the students will be able to blossom with when they are older,” states Horner.
Beginning on Monday and lasting throughout the week, there were many activities. Classes reviewed a presentation, students read poems over the loudspeaker, and volunteers came in to talk to the children.
The volunteers, as well as the teachers and students, wore yellow leis to show their support on the issue.
While this event is not becoming an everyday routine, it will be repeated several times throughout the school year. Ideally, this repetition will remind the kids to always reach out to someone in need.
If you wish to learn more about the “Start With Hello” program developed by the Sandy Hook Promise, visit the links down below:
Cara Andres, Devin Zerbe and Brooke Whitling are students at Cranberry High School and members of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications class.